The U.S. Senate will begin its trial of former President Donald Trump in a few days, on February 8th. The trial likely will last no more than a week. It remains to be seen whether or not the Senate will decide that witnesses may be called and questioned. The entire event will be televised and thus be watched by many Americans, probably more than during Trump’s first impeachment because this accusation is way more serious.
The total of 100 senators–evenly divided with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans–will then vote whether or not to convict Mr. Trump of “incitement to insurrection.” That is what the Democratic-majority, House of Representatives accused him of in its impeachment of him that it sent to the Senate last week.
It was this president’s second impeachment in only a single, four-year term. A second one is unprecedented in the 243-year history of the U.S.A., no matter how many years a president served.
It will be focused entirely on the Capitol riot on Certification Day at the Capitol on January 6th and events surrounding it. The main issue will be whether or not President Trump incited the ensuing violence in his speech delivered that morning to a crowd that then stormed the Capitol, endangering the lives of all members of Congress gathered there for the traditional ceremony, and that resulted in five deaths, in which one was the killing of a Capitol police officer.
Apparently, Mr. Trump is frantically still choosing the members of his legal team who will represent him in the trial. I blogged days ago that “Trump Can’t Get Any Good Lawyers.” I mentioned that two of his lawyers who were part of his legal team for the first impeachment, which occurred about one year ago, had declined to be involved this time. But since then, two lawyers on Trump’s present legal team quit this week. So, he is now trying to hire other lawyers for this big event that is now only eight days away.
Thus, what I said in that previous post, about Trump’s dearth of lawyers, apparently is getting worse. Why? Lawyers have to think about the future of their careers which can be affected by their reputations. All kinds of people are heading for the hills who used to be associated with Donald Trump, and it apparently includes lawyers.
So, what will be the legacy of Donald Trump as U.S. president? Of course, it will be worse if the Senate finds Trump guilty of insurrection. It is highly likely that will not happen, since there must be a 2/3s vote, thus 67 senators, to so charge the accused. And that means 17 Republicans would have to join the 50 Democrats to convict him, which just about all pundits say, “it ain’t gonna happen.” In that case, Trump likely still will exercise the main control of the Republican Party and could still run for president in 2024. Ouch!
So, what will be Trump’s legacy as U.S. president? Today’s The Atlantic relates that historian Michael Beschloss told it, “This is the only president in American history who incited an insurrection against Congress that could have resulted in assassinations and hostage-taking and, conceivably, the cancellation of a free presidential election and the fracturing of a democracy. That’s a fact, and it won’t change in 50 years. It’s very hard to think of a scenario under which someone might imagine some wonderful thing that Donald Trump did that will outshine that. He did, literally, the worst thing that an American president could ever do.”